Milwaukee will have its first new hotel in nine years and it comes with its own vocabulary. Don’t call it a “pool”, call it a “splash”. And, the elevator is referred to as the “lift”. You see, Milwaukee’s new Aloft Hotel doesn’t want to be perceived as stuffy. So, it’s created its own vocabulary to keep things light and it’s working to get guests out of their rooms for some fun.
Opening December 17 on Old World 3rd Street, the new hotel is five stories and offers 160 rooms, renting for about $159 a night. This price makes them about $20 a night less expensive than most of the higher end downtown hotels.
Rooms are about 285 square feet and nicely appointed, but the staff says the idea is to get you out of your room and down to the lobby. To that end, the lobby boasts a large lounge area with a bar, fireplace and a pool table. There’s also a fitness centre in the hotel.
During summer months you can walk right outside the lounge onto a courtyard which attaches to the public accessible riverwalk. This allows guests an easy way to get outside and enjoy the river when weather permits. The riverwalk is a continuous pedestrian walkway along the Milwaukee River. It has been decorated with local art and sculpture. The hotel is also close to the Bradley Center, as well as plenty of great restaurants and bars.
The Aloft hotel is affiliated with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., a hotel franchisor that includes Sheraton, W Hotels and Westin among its brands. It is owned by Milwaukee River Hotels LLC, owned by Ed Carow, Mark Flaherty and Chuck Heath, of Wave Development.
The city of Milwaukee hopes the Aloft will help attract more business and leisure travellers to the downtown and riverwalk area. They gave the hotel some public financing, including state environmental cleanup grants of over $800,000. The hotel will repay public financing through property taxes based on the revenue it generates.
The Aloft is opening with about 25 full-time employees, Aldrich said, and will eventually have 35 to 40 full-time employees. Though most hotels have seen a significant drop in bookings over the last year, the new Aloft has had brisk advance bookings in the week preceding its opening. Milwaukee is hoping that visitors for both business and pleasure alike are excited about the newest hotel to dot the skyline, vernacular and all.